Thursday, December 12, 2013

Ironic Advent Meditation #12: Waiting for Jenny

WAITING FOR JENNY



Technically, Advent is the time for preparation (or focused waiting) for the coming of the Lord and his kingdom. It gets a little tricky, or, if I can be honest, confusing, since we are waiting for the coming of a King and a kingdom that theology and Christian teaching has split up into two comings and two fulfillments of what seem to be the same prophecies. And the same longings for meaning, justice, mercy, peace on earth, and vegetarianism (slipped that one in on you). 

Well, that's one of the reasons for "ironic advent meditations." I see Advent itself as having a built in ironic stance. The second we start getting too juiced up about the coming of the baby in Bethlehem we have some church father whispering over our shoulder, in a very Ronald Reagenesque voice, "well . . . don't get too excited. It's still going to be sort of hell on earth until the OTHER coming, don't ya know." Maybe that's why we spend so much money on gifts and parties and stuff once Christmas gets here. To pretend that the long wait really was worth it. Oh, don't get bent out of shape by my gloomy thoughts. It wasn't my idea to do it that way. Talk to the person in charge. 

Anyway, be that as it may, I know what it's like to wait for something to happen. And then to have it happen . . . sort of. And then just start waiting again for "the full realization" (theology talk again) of what was supposed to have already happened. It's like when you caress a circle and it becomes a vicious cycle (Ionesco). Even if it's not like it, that's one great saying. 

So I've been waiting for Jenny to get home from college. And YAY! She got home. 

Sort of. 

She had it all timed out to arrive in Indy the very day of the Pacers/Heat game. Smart girl. And we had a great time watching our seventh or eighth Pacer/Heat game from the last three years. After the game, she doesn't have to, you understand, but would really like to go to Fort Wayne because Austin's mom went out and got a lot of food and stuff to have a party to celebrate Jenny bringing light and life to the entire Hoosier state and she will be home first thing the next morning. 

Sure, Jenny. I mean, I was looking forward to seeing you. And, truth be told, I was looking forward to turning COMPLETE care of Rorie the dog over to you for a month. But, sure, that sounds like fun. And you'll be home first thing the next morning right? Because we have stuff we have to talk about, and we have to pick up your car from the garage, and . . . well . . . because I've sort of been waiting for you to get home. 

Obviously then, that night it snows, and the next morning, well wouldn't you know it, the roads in Fort Wayne are just impossible. Somehow, from talking to friends, I discover that they braved the two-inch blizzard of '13 to get out and make it to work and all, but Jenny says that they could NEVER dig the car out and Austin's mom just doesn't think it would be safe for them to be out driving. And I say, but I thought Austin had to work today. And she says, well he's calling in. And I start to wonder if Austin has a mom, but I don't say that. So I'm like, uh, well, OK, I'm down at work (somehow I made it), and I really need you to get home to take the dog out because she's probably about ready to bust a gut. Well, I just don't think we can dig the car out and the roads . . . . So be it. I guess we'll just take our chances with the dog's gut then.

Later that night I drive through Fort Wayne on the way to Warsaw for Our Lady of Guadalupe services --amazingly courageous trip in the dangerous conditions--and notice that the roads in Fort Wayne are completely clear and traffic is moving just a shade under 70 miles per hour on the the interstate. 

Well, I'll admit, frustration sets in. With or without a layer of explanation as to just why the waiting is both over and not over, as to just how the long-expected Jenny has both come home and not come home. But a friend told me the other day that her husband told her a long time ago, in a similar situation with a daughter, "LET IT GO." That sounds almost Biblical, but really it was just Dana talking to Pam. Anyway, I took it as scripture and have been trying. Besides, I tell myself, less than two weeks ago, this girl got her own flight and flew across the country to be at your brother's funeral and to be there for her grieving cousin (and her dad). As one says when one doesn't want to be too direct--"slack shall be cut."

Then other things happened, but, like Peter Jackson, I'm going to leave out those things and jump right back into another CGI action scene with really ugly orcs. 

No, really, I'm going to jump to Jenny picking up her car at the garage, being reunited with Rorie, making a calendar for me so I could know her schedule for the weeks ahead, cleaning her room, shoveling the walk, unpacking, and restoring the kingdom of Israel. Seriously, six out of seven ain't bad (except in the Bible). And then she goes to visit some friends in Fort Wayne at her old job, but says she'll be back around 9ish. And actually gets back around 10. Which, in the gracious spirit of ironic advent, I'm saying is pretty dang 9ish.

Then we force Rorie to sit with us and watch Beauty and the Beast on our old 13 inch TV with a build-in VCR! State of the art when Beauty and the Beast  first came out (before Jenny was born). There's some really good stuff in that show and some really bad stuff. But I noticed, mostly, that the Beast had to wait a long time to find someone. Then he lost her. Then he got her back. Hmmm, there's a pattern here, whether I like it or not. 

But there's some awful stuff in that show too. Like the song, "Be Our Guest." Icky. 

I also noticed how much Beauty or Belle looks like someone I used to know. And act like her too. So I started wondering if this person actually had modeled her behavior on a Disney character. But I'm sure that's a mystery I'll never get.

And I don't get the other mystery either. Why we have to wait, then once we seem to get what we wanted all along, we realize that we still have to wait. Sometimes it all starts feeling like a youth group twister game with a lot of near contact but mostly, and maybe ultimately, frustration.

But I will say this. And maybe it's a word of hope, even if from an ironic place. Once Jenny finally made it home and made it home, it was really nice. Maybe I could say the words worth it, as long as we don't allegorize it. I know Rorie thinks or feels or whatever exactly she does that it's pretty great. And, even though Jenny is using my space heater and I'm down to using the old heating pad, it's all good. Of course I only had to wait two days not 2000+ years. But it felt like longer than two days. Felt like . . . at least three. 

Tomorrow night is Austin's birthday party and no telling how badly that one block will get snowed on again. 

But tonight at least, the waiting is over. Sort of. For the time being. Oh yeah, I also don't like that Mrs. Potts character. She gives me the creeps. I mean she's way too old to be Chip's mom.

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